Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard was a keynote speaker at the Indian American Friendship Council (IAFC) Conference in Washington, DC last week. She was honored with the organization's National Service Award for her work to strengthen ties between the United States and India.

As a member of the House Foreign Affairs Asia-Pacific Subcommittee and the Democrat Co-Chair of the bipartisan Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, Rep. Gabbard has been working to make key friendships with Indian government leaders as part of a shared focus on economic progress, fighting terrorism, and expanding education. The congresswoman also met with Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan in October to discuss his work to rejuvenate and protect the river Narmada, the fifth longest river in the Indian subcontinent.

As the first Hindu elected to Congress, Gabbard has been instrumental in moving the United States and India ever closer as long-time allies and trade partners. In a press release, Gabbard shared her intentions for the relationship between the two countries:

"Over the years, the US and India have made great strides in strengthening our important relationship, from cooperating in education to business to counterterrorism and so much more. As co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, and through my work on the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs Committees, I'm working to strengthen the friendship and bonds between our nations and to encourage new opportunities for growth.

"The Indian American Friendship Council's work to promote mutual exchange of knowledge and ideas, further understanding between elected leaders and those in the private sector, and provide a voice to the more than three million Indian Americans living in the United States, has furthered this progress and expanded the U.S.-India relationship for the benefit of both countries and their citizens."

Tulsi Gabbard's work to create more opportunities for growth between the US and India has been ongoing since her election to Congress. She also traveled to India in 2015 upon personal invitation by PM Narendra Modi. Gabbard has worked to facilitate a sister-state partnership between her home state of Hawaii and the state of Goa, sharing a number of similarities in history, economy, agriculture, and education.

The significance of Gabbard's continuous work with Indian leadership in promoting the numerous opportunities for mutual economic benefit and social progress can't be overstated. India continues to flourish and leaders of both countries are increasingly optimistic about positive interaction between two of the world's superpowers.